Why You Don’t Own Your Front Yard

Most Minneapolis home owners are shocked to learn they don’t own all of their front yard.  People assume that the public sidewalk abuts the residential property line.  That’s a logical assumption and one that holds true in St. Paul.  So why isn't it true in Minneapolis? … [Read more...]

Radon and the Tooth Fairy

Remember when you were very young and it was easy to believe in things you couldn't see, like the Tooth Fairy?   The Tooth Fairy was so cool, giving you money for something you no longer needed.  And even when the day came that your baby teeth or your belief were no more, the Tooth Fairy didn't get mad at being ignored.  Good ol'  TF was never bad or harmful. … [Read more...]

The Sculpture Mystery

Houses hold stories created by their inhabitants.  Sometimes the house itself contains the story’s physical record: the successively-higher pencil lines on a doorjamb showing a child’s growth; the secret hiding spot above the ceiling tile; the dusty box of letters left in a forgotten corner of the attic.  These relics provide unique connections from prior home owners to later ones. … [Read more...]

What I Miss About Being A Seller

Selling your home in a buyer's market causes physical exhaustion, inflicts financial stress and delivers an emotional beating.  Sellers who enjoy these circumstances are as rare as cats with insomnia. We sold our place in 2010 after being on the market for what seemed like an eternity.  The next time we sell, it better be because we're moving to a tropical island.   … [Read more...]

Color Conundrums

When it's time to update a color scheme in your home, where do you turn for inspiration?  Traditionally, I looked for great color combinations at fabric stores.  I'd bring home swatches of the most intriguing ones to see how they worked in the room's lighting.  It's a practical low-tech, low cost way to play with color mixtures and textures. I recently discovered a couple of websites that let you experiment with color.   The first website is ColorPicker.com.  Simply move the cursor around the multicolored square and bar until you see a color you like.  Then click on one of four links to … [Read more...]

Agents Are From Mars, Consumers Are From Venezuela

It is human nature to view oneself in terms of value, and others in terms of cost. This paradox is never more evident than in a business setting. No exception to the rule, Real Estate agents and consumers must coexist in an arena of disparate interests and subjective truths. In the search for common ground, … [Read more...]

Smells That Sell

Right now, some Realtor® is saying “If it smells, it doesn’t sell” to a client because their house needs a scent make-over.  Smells bad, that is.  But what about pleasant odors?  There are several schools of thought about which aromas are the most buyer-friendly. … [Read more...]

12 Reasons Buyers Need Pre-Approvals

If you were ready to buy a house, would you rather be pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage loan?  In everyday usage, the two phrases seem so similar, it's easy to guess wrong.  You want to be pre-approved.  Here's why. Pre-qualified means that a lender did a cursory review of your finances and stated a general range of what you can borrow.  In contrast, pre-approval requires a mortgage application and the lender verifies your assets, debts, income and credit history. This method yields a more accurate estimate of your borrowing power.   Second question: When should you get … [Read more...]

The Cat’s Guide to Preventing a House Sale

Listen up, fellow felines!  Your peeps are trying to sell your home out from underneath you.  And they haven't even asked permission, have they?   Everyone knows that we cats hate, hate, hate change.  Not like those silly dogs, so eager to explore new places.  We like things just the way they are.   If you have never had the trauma of being forcibly moved, let me tell you it's a nightmare.  The locations of your  food bowl and litter box - totally changed!  You have to fend off who knows what to claim the new place as your territory.  You must cultivate new napping spots.   You will have … [Read more...]

Take It Off, Take It Half Off!!!

When your house is on the market, impressing potential buyers is critical.  Among other things, your home needs to feel spacious. Not the empty-and-abandoned kind of spacious, but the "look how my stuff fits nicely with room left over" kind of spacious. You can get that effect by halving certain things, like the ones mentioned below. Bookshelves.  Take half of the books off.  Put 1-3 artsy objects at different spots on the shelves to add visual interest. Closets should be half empty.  Store your out-of-season clothes somewhere else.  Donate excess stuff to charity.  Get rid of extra … [Read more...]

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